Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Sepher ha-razim. Sepher ha-razim: The book of the mysteries. Pseudepigrapha series ; 11 Texts and transla- tions ; 25 Translationof: Seferha-razim. Morgan, Michael A. Title: Book of the mysteries.
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Discovery[ edit ] The text was rediscovered in the 20th century by Mordecai Margalioth, a Jewish scholar visiting Oxford in , using fragments found in the Cairo Geniza.
He achieved this in when he published Sefer HaRazim. The first English translation of the book was undertaken by Michael A. Morgan in ; the book is now in print, as of summer Dating[ edit ] Margalioth places the date of the original text to the early fourth or late third century CE. This date is almost universally accepted; a notable exception is Ithamar Gruenwald who dates the text to the sixth or seventh century.
Nonetheless, it is clear that this text predates Kabbalistic texts, including the Zohar thirteenth century , the Bahir thirteenth century as well , and possibly the proto-Kabbalistic Sefer Yetzirah fourth century. There are certain textual clues that point toward this early date, specifically the reference to "the Roman indictions in [which] gives a clear terminus a quo of CE" Morgan 8.
Each of the first six sections corresponds to one heaven and contains a listing of angels and instructions to perform one or more magical rites. Only the throne of God and the four hayots are in the seventh heaven. There is an uneasy tension between the orthodox cosmogony of the book and the unorthodox praxeis embodied in these magical rites; the book has obviously been edited by a rabbinical scribe, but the "popular religion" contained in the book is more or less intact.
The number seven, the importance of divine names, and the prevalence of sympathetic magic all have significance in the literature of Middle Eastern magic. I, N son of N, present my supplication before you, that you will appear to me without causing me fear, and you will be revealed to me without causing me terror, and you will conceal nothing from me, and will tell me truthfully all that I desire.
The reader is told to perform the ritual in white garments.
Discovery[ edit ] The text was rediscovered in the 20th century by Mordecai Margalioth, a Jewish scholar visiting Oxford in , using fragments found in the Cairo Geniza. He achieved this in when he published Sefer HaRazim. The first English translation of the book was undertaken by Michael A. Morgan in ; the book is now in print, as of summer Dating[ edit ] Margalioth places the date of the original text to the early fourth or late third century CE.
SEPHER HA RAZIM - The Book of the Mysteries
Sefer ha-Razim is remarkable for its systematic treatment of magic, witchcraft, incantations, and supernatural remedies, on which no special works have otherwise been preserved in Hebew literature. In the midst of deliberations on the angels, their names, and their functions in the six heavens which precede the supreme heaven, the book interweaves about 30 magical counsels for suppliants—who might include those seeking to know the future, to sway the hearts of the great, to have their enemies overtaken by misfortune, to be healed, to have their dreams interpreted, to overcome an enemy or a wild animal, to see the sun during the day or the night, or to speak with the moon and the stars. On the basis of fragments from the genizah and Hebrew, Latin, and Arabic manuscripts, he organized the work into a preface and seven short chapters describing the Seven Heavens. The work is relatively short about lines , but it is of considerable literary and historic interest. Written in a beautiful midrashic Hebrew containing hardly any Aramaic, it is however inlaid with transliterated Greek words—some of which are termini technici of Greek magic—as well as a short Greek prayer. The names of about angels are listed some having a Greek etymology ; several have specified "characters" symbolic figures, which form a quasi-magical alphabet.
This article needs some expert attention. If anyone could specify the sources used for reconstruction, how many of them where known before the discovery of the Geniza as some paragraphs from the book are being refered to elsewhere. Additionally, the sentence in the article - "The text itself was once considered to be part of "orthodox" Judaism under the influence of Hellenism, but this text, along with other works of Kabbalah, are considered to be unorthodox at best and heretical at worst in modern Judaism. From a general standpoint, accepted works of Kabbalah are not considered heretical in modern Judaism, as the sentence implies. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review.
Sepher Ha-Razim: The Book of Mysteries